Estate Planning Lawyers in Jacksonville — Helping You Secure Your Present and Future
Regardless of a person’s financial status, everyone has an estate. This could be nothing more than a few family heirlooms or it could be millions in assets. Either way, it’s something you want to protect and ensure your loved ones have access to if anything happens to you. Unfortunately, not having a plan in place could result in you having zero control over your assets or important decisions. Fortunately, an estate planning lawyer in Jacksonville can help.
At Weldon Law Group, PLLC, our team of legal professionals works diligently to ensure our client’s wishes are known and respected. At times, this may mean creating a trust to safeguard one’s Medicaid eligibility. In other instances, it could mean writing a will to dictate who receives certain assets when you’re gone. Regardless of your specific needs, our Jacksonville estate planning attorneys can assist. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.
How Important Is Estate Planning?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. This is true for a variety of reasons. In most cases, people engage in this process to minimize taxes or the potential for dispute after they’ve died. Estate administration is a complex process, and if you don’t leave a will behind, your loved ones will likely encounter complications. In fact, they may end up having no control over the process at all.
That’s because Florida law dictates asset distribution when someone dies without a will. Things can get very complicated if you have a prior divorce with children involved, an estranged spouse, or a family member who you no longer have ties with. That’s because state law does not consider the intricacies of individual circumstances. If you fail to go through the estate planning process, it’s very likely that your final wishes may not be carried out.
Of course, estate plans are important for a variety of other reasons as well. For instance, what happens if you’re in a serious accident and unable to make important financial decisions for some time? A Power of Attorney can prove beneficial. What if you want to ensure your wishes for medical care are known even if you become incapacitated? An advanced directive can prove invaluable. Sadly, many people don’t realize how important this all is until it’s too late — but a Jacksonville estate planning lawyer can help.
Do You Need a Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney?
If you’re thinking of scheduling an estate planning consultation with Weldon Law Group, you’ll likely ask yourself whether you even need an attorney. After all, there are plenty of do-it-yourself legal resources available online. Shouldn’t these be enough to get all your Florida estate planning documents in order? While there are tools available online, the fact is that most attorneys agree that it’s unwise to use them for important legal matters.
For instance, you can easily download a will template from the internet. The document will no doubt have instructions on choosing an executor — thus avoiding the need for an estate administrator — and language describing where to list each beneficiary. However, did you know that you have to have two witnesses to your signing of the will — and that each of them must witness the other witnesses signing?
The simple fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all estate planning resource, and DIY approaches often overlook essential legal requirements. Any do-it-yourself document will be unable to consider the unique circumstances of your situation. And while there are some ways to easily choose who receives certain assets when you’re gone — such as by designating a beneficiary on bank accounts — this is only one step and will not cover all your planning needs. That is why you should speak with an estate planning attorney in Jacksonville.
What Are Important Estate Planning Tools?
There are a variety of goals linked to estate planning. Perhaps you simply want to avoid the chance of litigation when you pass on. Then again, maybe you want to ensure loved ones are taken care of if your or their future involves nursing home residency. You might even want to simply reduce the tax burden your beneficiaries could face. Regardless of what you’re trying to do, the following estate planning tools can prove invaluable to your goals:
- Last will and testament: A will is essential in the event of your death. From choosing the named executor who will carry out your will to dividing properties among loved ones, this cannot be overlooked.
- Medicaid planning: This form of asset protection can safeguard your monies and properties while ensuring you meet the required thresholds to qualify for Medicaid.
- Power of Attorney: This document designates someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. You can make this go into effect if you become incapacitated, or you could use it immediately for convenience.
- Special needs trust: Establishing this type of trust can help support disabled family members while not interfering with their eligibility for government benefits.
- Other trusts: There are a variety of trust types that can protect your assets. These can take effect either during life or after death. The decision is yours.
- Healthcare proxy: Also known as a healthcare power of attorney, this document allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so.
- Advanced care directive: Also known as a living will, this document dictates your desired medical decisions and end-of-life wishes.
- Guardianship and beneficiary designations: There are sometimes many ways to go about designating beneficiaries and guardians, but these are some of the most important decisions you’ll make.
While these documents are among the most essential for an estate plan, it’s important to remember that every estate matter is unique. You may have needs that others do not. Your estate plan should be created with you in mind. For simple estates, you may just need to name beneficiaries for your accounts. For more complex matters, you might need a variety of trusts along with plans for investments and even granting guardianship to trusted loved ones.
For the best idea of the specific resources you need, however, consider speaking with an estate planning lawyer in Jacksonville. At Weldon Law Group, we’ll help you identify and understand your unique planning needs.
Contact Our Estate Planning Lawyers in Jacksonville Today
No one likes to think about what happens when they’re gone. Unfortunately, it’s something we all must face. Of course, creating a will is far from the only important aspect of estate planning. This is why even individuals who are young and in good health should have a plan in place. And while there are undoubtedly some tasks that you can handle on your own, it’s important to have experienced assistance when handling your most important estate planning needs.
At Weldon Law Group, PLLC, our law firm is committed to helping our clients safeguard their assets and plan for the future. Even estates that are seemingly simple on the surface can turn complex when no plan is in place. What you don’t want is to lose control over your own decisions or leave loved ones in a difficult position when you’re gone. Our estate planning lawyers in Jacksonville can help you avoid these outcomes.